Saturday, October 28, 2006
Diffractometer, scanner to spur research at Tech
The high-tech X-ray equipment and services are valued at $1.6 millon.
Virginia Tech hopes the addition of high-tech X-ray equipment to its campus will help attract research and development companies to Blacksburg and researchers and faculty to campus.
The university will be the only place in North America with both a Gemini Diffractometer and a PX Scanner, according to Tech spokeswoman Catherine Doss.
Tech made the announcement Friday that it acquired the new equipment, upgrades to existing equipment and service contracts from Oxford Diffraction Ltd. The company, a British manufacturer and distributor of specialized diffraction equipment, will base its North American headquarters -- with a staff of one person -- in Tech's Corporate Resesarch Center.
Tech gave the company $250,000 in funds from the state's Commonwealth Research Initiative in exchange for the equipment and services, valued at $1.6 million.
Nancy Ross, associate dean for research in Tech's College of Science, said the university and Oxford Diffraction have a history going back to when the company started in 2001. Tech bought the company's first piece of equipment and was able to make this deal because of the relationship between researchers and the company.
"They benefit because of the feedback they get from researchers at the university working on this equipment," she said.
Tech will also serve as a demonstration site for the equipment, which arrived on campus a week ago. There are already pharmaceutical companies and other university researchers scheduled to visit Tech to see the diffractometer and scanner.
The equipment will be housed in Tech's crystallography laboratory in Derring Hall and will help with research to discover new treatments for Alzheimer's disease and finding cures for infectious diseases. The lab is used by researchers in Tech's geosciences, biology, biochemistry and chemistry departments.